Purpose of review
Although movement disorders are traditionally viewed as chronic diseases that are followed electively, a growing number of these patients present with acute, severe syndromes or complications of their underlying neurological problem. Identifying and managing movement disorders emergencies is challenging, even for the specialist. This review summarizes evidence outlining the clinical presentation of acute, life-threatening movement disorders.
We review the most significant aspects in the most common movement disorders emergencies, including acute complications related to Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism, serotonergic, and neuroleptic malignant syndromes, chorea, ballismus, dystonia, myoclonus, and tics.
The increasing amount of information delineating the descriptions of movement disorders emergencies provides means for more effective prevention, identification, and management for the nonspecialist. Although the commonest of these syndromes eventually have a good outcome, serious conditions such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome and status dystonicus may induce substantial rates of morbidity and mortality. This review re-emphasizes the need for their prompt identification and management.